What those 3 fighters do is make the division look very top heavy and below them there is a lack in terms of talent and unfortunate Japanese champion Go Odaira (11-4-3, 1) is the prime example of that. Odaira isn't a bad fighter by any means but in terms of ability he is a long way behind Tanaka and Hara and came up short against Takayama on New Year's Eve, despite a great effort.
Although Odaira did lose last time out to Takayama we see him return to the ring on March 26th when he looks to record the 3rd defence of the Japanese title and over-come mandatory challenger Yutaka Sowano (9-5-1, 6), a challenger even we know little about.
Whilst we sound really critical of Odaira we aren't trying to be. In his own right he's a brilliant domestic champion, in fact he's a perfect domestic champion. He is well below world class but he's certainly not a bad fighter and he has the tools to dominate domestically for quite a while.
In the ring Odaira is a little dynamo with a fantastic work rate, intelligent movement, sensational timing and brilliant speed, both with his hands and feet. What he lacks however is the power to make fighters respect him and the top class experience. That lack of power, just 1 stoppage win in 18 fights, is what limits Odaira as the rest of abilities are very good.
On paper Sowano is a puncher with 6 of his 9 wins coming by stoppage. In reality however that's only 6 stoppages in 15 bouts and they'd all come against limited opposition with his best win being a 2nd round TKO against Kento Shimazu almost 2 years. What doesn't help us in regards to Sowana is that footage of him is relatively scarce as well with the only stuff we've stumbled on being highlights of his fight with Yutthana Kingtiger. From that footage it appears that Sowano is crude to say the least with wild and wide punches be the norm.
Sowano has been beaten by much lesser fighters than Odaira and they've been able to take advantage of his flaws whilst being able to with stand his power. We suspect the same will happen here with Sowano's wild and telegraphed punches being countered by the sharp but light blows of Odaira.
We know Odaira isn't world class but Sowano really has nothing to worry him here.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)